The debate over where we're at in the housing crisis just got a bit more complicated. The National Association of Realtors reported today that sales of existing homes increased 2.9 percent in February over the previous month, driven by strong 11.3 percent growth in the Northeast. That's the first increase in sales in seven months.
The plunge in home prices has made homes more affordable—the median national home price last month was $195,500, 8.2 percent lower than it was a year earlier.
So does this sales increase mean the housing downturn has hit bottom? Well, not necessarily. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun points out that "one should never read too much into a single month of data." February also saw the inventory of unsold houses decline by 126,000 to 4 million homes being listed for sale.